Gwyneth Walker

The Dreamers of Dreams

for SATB Chorus and Piano (2003)

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Download an MP3 file of a performance of this work by the Wichita State University Madrigal Singers, Tom Wine, conductor.

Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of a performance of this work by the Ball State University Chamber Choir, Jeffrey Carter, conductor.
Download an MP3 file of a performance of this work by the Ball State University Chamber Choir, Jeffrey Carter, conductor.

Download a PDF file of the poetry used in this work as text for printing in concert programs.


Commissioned by the choirs of Ball State University -- Muncie, Indiana, Jeffrey Carter, director

The text for The Dreamers of Dreams is an abbreviated and adapted version of the "Ode" by Arthur O'Shaughnessy (1844-1881). The principal message of this song is that we "music makers" are "dreamers of dreams." We live a life apart from the rest of the world. "We live a life of song. "This may be a lonely life. "We...sit by desolate streams." But, it is also a life of beauty, imagination and strength.

The musical setting opens with three triumphant chords in the piano, followed by a soft, 'murmuring' background. The singers enter gently. Perhaps they express the dreamlike world of song. The music increases in dynamics and tempo into the middle section: "Each age is a dream that is dying. But ours is coming to birth!"

The change to a flowing accompaniment signals the arrival of the third stanza: "For we, with our dreaming and singing, ceaseless, triumphant we!" There is a slowing down and perhaps a time for reflection on the words: "O world! we dwell apart from thee." The music then grows into a triumphant statement of "We are the music makers!" And yet the ending is quiet, within the character of the magical world of music. "We are the movers and shakers, on whom the pale moon gleams." Three gentle patterns in the piano balance the opening chords.

Notes by the composer